Faculty of PhilosophyReligious Studies – Bachelor 75%

Students of religious studies analyse religious ideas, practices and materialities from an empirical-cultural perspective and attempt to understand them in their respective historical, cultural and societal contexts. 

Facts & Formalities

DegreeBachelor of Arts
Type of programmeUndergraduate
Start of programmeWinter and summer semester
Standard period of study6 semesters
Language(s) of instructionGerman and English
Fees and contributions169.25 € / Semester
Application procedureSubjects with access restriction
Application deadlinesInformation about deadlines can be obtained after you have put together a degree program.
Part-time optionYes

Course Content

The focus of the Bachelor’s degree programme in religious studies at Heidelberg University is the analysis of various religions in the past and the present. Religious studies does not focus on the truth or accuracy of religious statements but on the roles religious actors, institutions, narrations and practices play in their respective historical cultures. The course focusses on rituals and ritual objects, statements made by religious actors in interviews, the presentation of religion in various media formats as well as written and archaeological sources. Students in the religious studies programme analyse predominantly value-free religious insights of changes in religious traditions on the basis of empirical findings. Religious studies in Heidelberg follows an empirical approach grounded in cultural studies and describes as well as studies complex religious constellations in the past and present. As a result, it conducts an analysis – in particular a contemporary analysis – of significant societal issues, e.g. related to fundamentalism, violence and religion, migration and integration.

Course Structure

The Bachelor’s degree programme in religious studies at 75% consists of a theoretical-methodological component and a religious-historical component:  

Theory and methods
Basic and advanced modules convey knowledge of theories and methods that enable students to study global religious traditions in the past and the present. Students are also introduced to methods for collecting data on religious traditions such as, e.g., historical-philological, archaeological, sociological or ethnological methods. In addition, the introductory courses provide students with an overview of tools and research techniques. Furthermore, students can access the multitude of languages courses taught at Heidelberg University to learn source languages including traditional and modern European languages, old and new Middle Eastern languages or South and East Asian languages in order to acquire specific language skills. The languages can then be linked to regional-scientific knowledge of religious traditions in the respective regions and periods that students specialise in. 

Religious history
Courses that focus on providing general overviews convey knowledge about major religious traditions and their current developments as well as providing introductions to specific areas of specialisation. In addition to the range of modules offered by the Institute for Religious Studies, students can also choose modules from the range of interdisciplinary religious studies modules that is based on the diverse lectures and courses of the neighbouring disciplines. This enables students to independently select areas of specialisation in the course of their Bachelor’s programme and to therefore develop their skills profile in accordance with their respective career goals.  

Examination components completed during the course of study are either presentations and essays or module examinations such as term papers, oral examinations and (rarely) written examinations. 

At the end of the academic programme, students write their Bachelor's thesis in the sixth semester. 

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